Snarky Lawyer

Does a Jury Have to Unanimously Agree on How a Defendant Committed the Crime?

October 29th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in White Collar Crime

When you are tried for any federal or state crime in Texas, the jury must unanimously agree that you are guilty. This means the jurors must be unanimous with respect to each element of the alleged offense. However, that does not necessarily mean the jurors all have to agree as to the underlying facts. In […]

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Can Prosecutors Introduce a Defendant’s Porn Collection as Evidence of Sexual Assault?

October 23rd, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

In a criminal trial, the prosecution’s job is to prove that the defendant committed the alleged offense. The objective is not to put the defendant’s overall character on trial. Indeed, under Texas law, such character evidence is inadmissible to prove the defendant’s guilt with respect to the actual charges. Unfortunately, we often see prosecutors try […]

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Is It a Crime to Look Like a Member of a “Criminal Street Gang”?

October 21st, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

One of the ideals of our criminal justice system is the notion that someone is not guilty of a crime simply based on how they look or appear. Unfortunately, reality does not always meet this ideal. For example, in recent years there has been a movement against individuals who are perceived as belonging to a […]

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Who Is Allowed to Conduct a Blood Draw in a DWI Case?

October 14th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in DWI

When a police officer has probable cause to believe that drunk driving has occurred, the officer may ask the suspect to consent to a blood-alcohol test. If the suspect denies their consent, a judge or magistrate must issue a search warrant before the test can proceed. Once a blood test is authorized, Texas law states […]

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Domestic Violence Is Not Exclusive to Marital or Romantic Relationships

October 12th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

Although we often associate domestic violence with acts involving a spouse or romantic partner, in fact, Texas law provides enhanced penalties for anyone convicted who commits a violent crime against any “family member,” which can include a parent, sibling, or child. It is therefore important to understand the consequences of a potential domestic violence-related conviction, […]

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The Role of a Jury in Dealing With Contested Traffic Tickets

October 9th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses

When you receive a traffic ticket in Texas, you have the right to contest that ticket in court. These cases are normally tried in a municipal court, which has jurisdiction over Class C misdemeanors punishable by fines only–no jail time–such as traffic violations. By default, you will receive a jury trial, unless you agree in […]

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Can Police Search My Luggage Without a Warrant If I’m Arrested at the Airport?

October 5th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime

The U.S. Constitution generally prohibits warrantless police searches of a suspect’s property. There are, however, multiple exceptions to this general rule. One such exception is for a “search incident to arrest.” This exception provides that when police lawfully arrest a suspect, the officers may conduct a search of the person and the area within the […]

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What Happens When a Criminal Suspect Does Not Fully Understand Their Rights in a Police Interrogation?

October 2nd, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Before police may lawfully start to question a criminal suspect, they must advise that suspect of their constitutional rights–namely, the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. The suspect must understand and acknowledge these rights before any interrogation can proceed. And of course, if the suspect actually invokes their rights, the interrogation […]

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Impersonating a Peace Officer Lands Fort Bend County Man in Jail for 6 Months

October 1st, 2020 by Tad Nelson in White Collar Crime

Many white collar crimes involve some form of identity theft or fraud. For example, in Texas it is a Class B misdemeanor to falsely identify oneself as a police officer. Basically, this covers someone possessing or displaying a law enforcement badge even though they are not actually a “peace officer” or reserve police officer. Court: […]

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When Can a Person Convicted of a Sex Crime Request New Testing of DNA Evidence?

September 25th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

Contrary to what television crime dramas would have you believe, DNA testing is not a mistake-proof way of identifying criminal suspects. Indeed, like any scientific method, the process of DNA testing has been altered and refined over the years to the point where many older test results would no longer be considered valid. Yet there […]

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